Egor Korshkov has always occupied a weird place in the hearts and minds of Leafs fans. Taken with a second round pick back in 2016 as a 19 year old (who turned 20 a couple of weeks after the draft), Leaf fans were a mix of perplexed and angry at the choice. Perplexed, because he was older and just finished his first full year in the KHL, so he was a relative unknown. And angry because he wasn’t Alex DeBrincat, who fell to Chicago at 39th overall.

Since then he’s remained a bit of a mystery as he remained in Russia, showing modest improvements every year but lacking eye-popping boxscore numbers to get any hype. DeBrincat, meanwhile, racked up tons of goals in the OHL and then broke into the NHL as a good secondary goal scorer.

2018 Top 25 Under 25: #21 Yegor Korshkov
Top 25 Under 25: Egor Korshkov still at #21, but with a new name!

Finally, late last year he came over to the Toronto Marlies to join their playoff run. He even scored a goal in his first ever AHL game! Leafs and Marlies fans could finally get a look at Toronto’s latest scientific experiment to see if giraffes could make effective NHL hockey players.

After two straight years lingering at 21st in PPP’s Top 25 Under 25 series, this year Egor moved up four spots to #17. Here’s the breakdown of all the votes:

Votes - Egor Korshkov

PlayerEgor Korshkov
2020 Rank17
Average Rank16.42
Lowest Rank23
Highest Rank14
Spread in Rank9
Total Votes12

So where are we with Korshkov now? He’ll be 24 in July, so he’s nearing the end of any “prospect” status he had been holding on to. He’s a 6’4” winger, so has more size than almost any current Leaf forward, but he’s also a good skater for his size and can score some goals — he’s reminding more and more of a Russian version of Pierre Engvall. He had a pretty successful first AHL season this past year, scoring 16 goals in 44 games playing mostly a middle-six checking line role.

He also scored at an 82-goal pace in his brief NHL stint, so that’s pretty great!

More seriously, Korshkov seemed to quickly settle into the same sort of role he always played in the KHL. Playing on 2nd or 3rd line, providing some secondary scoring and being relied upon for his defensive play. He was used on both the powerplay as the net front guy and did so pretty effectively from what Hardev tells me. Perhaps more importantly, he was one of their top few penalty killers and did very well.

This seems to indicate he’s being groomed the same way Pierre Engvall was — and it’s worth noting that Korshkov is only two months younger than Engvall.

Considering his skills and role, I’d say the Leafs would love to find a role for a 6’4” winger on an ELC who can skate, pitch in some goals, defend well and act as a swiss army knife on special teams. It all depends on if he can replicate his specialized role in more limited minutes in the NHL.

Here’s what some other voters thought:

Katya: Where are we with Korshkov? After years in the KHL on a team that never got better, he joined the Marlies and overcame the language barrier fairly quickly to play exactly the same role he’d had in the KHL. He can PK, play the power play, tough it out on the boards, pass very nicely to a sniper, and snipe a few himself. He’s a third liner+, the plus being the level of skill you get in a top Russian development system. His NHL debut was interesting in that he was playing the Sabres who weren’t actually trying on a night where the Leafs were in Jekyll mode (or is that Hyde?) and they weren’t really trying either. He looked both really good and like a raw rookie all in a very few minutes played. I think he’s a maybe depth NHLer, but he better hurry up about it because he will be the oldest man on the T25 next year.

Fulemin: I have a soft spot for Korshkov because he checks a lot of bottom six boxes. I don’t know that he’ll ever be more than that and he’s probably through the steep incline part of his growth curve, but I think he has it in him to be an everyday fourth liner next season and we’ll go from there. He’s also a decently competent playmaker for a depth player, and it never hurts to add a bit of depth offence...assuming he has at least one linemate to actually finish the plays. Frederik Gauthier doesn’t count.

Hardev: I actually forgot Korshkov got a game in the NHL this season and that most fans were satisfyingly impressed with his performance. Most of what I remember from Korshkov’s season was lots of scoring early on in a top-six role, then he was put on checking lines, then injury trouble, then once finally healthy after two stints on the shelf, more checking line time. I thought his days of being a middle-six option on the Leafs was done by the way he was getting deployed by the coach, it was a hard pivot to grinding. But he impressed in his NHL debut and once I got to the end of the season on my Marlies data, finished the season in a scoring role with 47% of his games starting on the second line and equal percentage of games on the first and third. Korshkov is an interesting prospect, I’ve never doubted his talent and his highlight reels should convince you of it as well. I think he’s acclimatized to the North American game now and might just be ready for NHL duty. Perhaps gets his toes dipped in like Liljegren instead of dunked like Sandin. I would be happy to have him on my AHL first line otherwise.

Funny side note I just wanted to squeeze in on the end here. Egor Korshkov scored in his first AHL game, he scored the first goal of the Marlies’ season in 2019/20, and he scored in his first NHL game. I’m not saying the Leafs should call up Korshkov when they inevitably face a game 7 vs Boston again, but I’m not NOT saying it either.

Egor Korshkov Highlights

Well I can’t embed it because the owner of the video blocked embedding for some reason, but here’s a video with clips of all Korshkov’s shifts in his first NHL game:

Korshkov comes up a lot in this highlight pack from a pre-season game vs Montreal after scoring two goals and causing chaos in front of the net:

Will Egor Korshkov play more than 20 games for the Leafs in the NHL next year?

No, because the pandemic will shut the whole season down anyways95